The best books on adventure, healing, and growth

The Books I Picked & Why

The Joy of Living: Unlocking the Secret and Science of Happiness

By Yongey Mingyur Rinpoche

The Joy of Living: Unlocking the Secret and Science of Happiness

Why this book?

I like books that expand my horizons and offer meaningful insights about our world, the human condition and how to become our best selves. I loved how The Joy of Living offers a fresh perspective on how to live joyfully in the midst of turmoil. It’s one of the best books I’ve found geared to Westerners on how to meditate effectively and how to make a positive change to one’s life. Through sharing his personal struggles and his journey to overcome them, the author weaves modern day scientific explanations on the science of the mind with the wisdom of ancient Tibetan Buddhism. Readers are given a clear and concise understanding of the power of their own minds.


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Lands of Lost Borders: A Journey on the Silk Road

By Kate Harris

Lands of Lost Borders: A Journey on the Silk Road

Why this book?

This book really resonated with me—I could relate to the author’s struggles, her love for outdoor adventures and traveling through Asian landscapes and cultures. I admired Kate Harris’ tenacity. Her use of language painted pictures of places in my mind and made my emotions merge with hers. This book ignites the inspiration to follow one’s passions. As a female reader, I found it very empowering. Harris’ story takes readers on a modern journey along the silk road. It’s a story of two women’s friendship and their moxie to accomplish their goal of riding bicycles across Central Asia. Together they persevere through countless obstacles—heath issues, corrupt officials and daunting border crossings, to achieve their dream. Their travel challenges are interwoven with insights about how international borders shape the lives of those living on different sides of an often arbitrary line.


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Mount Analogue: A Tale of Non-Euclidean and Symbolically Authentic Mountaineering Adventures

By René Daumal

Mount Analogue: A Tale of Non-Euclidean and Symbolically Authentic Mountaineering Adventures

Why this book?

This book is one of my all time favorite reads. Mount Analogue is a short poetic novel. Daumal’s rich descriptions and symbolism engaged my imagination and made me think deeply about the story’s meaning. The author takes readers on a journey to a mystical place with an unusual set of characters and strange circumstances. The story revolves around an adventurous sailing and climbing expedition to a mystical mountain hidden from the world’s inhabitants which is believed to link the earth to a higher sphere of reality. It’s full of intrigue and packed with pithy philosophical statements worth pondering. Daumal’s words and descriptions are so thought-provoking, that I used a quote from this book as the opening to my memoir, If I Live Until Morning.


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Endurance: Shackleton's Incredible Voyage

By Alfred Lansing

Endurance: Shackleton's Incredible Voyage

Why this book?

I read this book after my near-fatal accident in the mountains. The story gave me perspective about enduring hardship. It also rekindled my own adventurous ambitions. This is a gripping tale about Ernest Shackleton’s expedition to the South Pole in the early 1900’s. Shackleton and his crew were trapped in sea ice before making a harrowing escape in their small lifeboats across frigid and turbulent seas to the shores of South Georgia Island. Later, he and a small group of men traversed glacier-covered mountains to get help at a remote whaling station. Shackleton’s feat of keeping his crew alive for months on end, with few supplies and in horrific conditions, is both an inspiration and a testimony to the leadership of a remarkable man. This timeless tale is a must-read for those who love adventure and history.


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The Healing Power of Mind: Simple Meditation Exercises for Health, Well-Being, and Enlightenment

By Tulku Thondup

The Healing Power of Mind: Simple Meditation Exercises for Health, Well-Being, and Enlightenment

Why this book?

I have given this book as a gift to friends and acquaintances who were struggling with health issues, trauma, depression, anxiety, or loss. Recipients of this book have told me how much it has benefited them—they found peace and renewed energy on their path of healing physical and emotional pain. It’s a short book packed with easy-to-practice meditations that are simple, yet profound. It is suitable for reader’s of all backgrounds and belief systems.


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